Sunday, November 20, 2011

Winter will be kept outside this year

Our earthbag house is closed in just in time for winter. Roof is finished, windows are all in and the rocket mass heater is mostly constructed as well.  This winter we'll be able to get some interior work done.
Insulated heat riser
The cats enjoying the warmth of the first burn
I really do love rocket stoves. I burned this one for about three hours and ended up with about a cup full of ashes. For the burn I used the slats from about one and a half pallets. These things are just amazing. The exhaust coming out the exit was mostly steam and only warm, not hot. There was a faint smell of wood in the exhaust but not like smoke from any other fire. And the large amount of mass holds this heat for a very long time, releasing it slowly.

Now we are onto to some of many, many other projects. Mrs. Mud has started on building a bat house to be put up near the end of winter. This is going be be a huge help around the homestead. Summer here brings a lot of mosquitoes. I've described my problems with mosquitoes in a previous post.

We've also recently acquired a 7 week old golden retriever pup. So that meant putting a doggy door in to the porch for him, putting up a fence for a dog run and building a dog house. The dog house was actually pretty easy. We re-purposed one of the door forms from the earthbag structure. All the wood in this was originally salvaged from the dump. I'm not sure what purposes it served before I got hold of it, but this will the second thing it has done for me. It may even be part of another project before it ends up heating my butt in the rocket mass heater.

15 comments:

  1. Glad to see the progress.

    I've yet to convince my wife on the merits of a rocket stove. On the other hand, I have convinced her of the merits of living on a sailboat in warm waters during the winter.

    Either way, I end up burning a lot less wood.

    Keep up the good work and post a bit more often if at all possible.

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  2. Sixbears,
    Now you've got me thinking about living on a sailboat in warm waters too!
    Maybe you could throw together a temporary rocket stove in the yard to show off it's awesomeness. It can be done in a couple hours or so. A bucket and a couple pieces of pipe can be put together in a few minutes to make a pocket rocket. Not quite as impressive, but shows the burn principles quite well. And cheap (or free). I like cheap or free.

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  3. Y'all been busy! Wow, the place looks great. And good to see the rocket stove. If we actually had winter down here I'd want one myself. We're still running the a/c, though it will cool off a bit tomorrow before it gets back into the '80s again...

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  4. Frann,
    Thanks. Your place looks awsome too.

    Craig,
    Extremely busy for sure. The other day I felt like I had too sneeze, but just didn't have the time.

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  5. I have to say - I'm very, very jealous! :D

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    1. I wish I had some of your skills!

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  6. you ARE going to INSULATE the dog house, right? I mean, a 7 week old puppy outside shivering while you warm your butt and feel smug next to the rocket stove? Why don't you swap places with the puppy sometime and see how you like it's doghouse? And, you ARE going to spay/neuter your animals, right? Being a responsible human includes that too. Not just building green, recycling materials etc. Just sayin' ...

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    1. The dog's house is inside an insulated porch.
      No, I will not be taking my animals to someone to have them slashed open and parts cut out while they are out cold on some chemical. Maybe that's your idea of being kind to animals, I have a different viewpoint. We live in the country where it's OK to let an animal live the way nature intended. I would never have animals if I lived in the city, but If I did maybe I would have to consider mutilating them and dressing them up in little outfits.

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  7. This is awesome. It's so great to see people successfully doing this! Do you know approx. how much the entire project will have cost you? How long do you think it would take 2 people to pull something like this off? How are you handling plumbing? Can the house be built first, or does plumbing need to be considered before/during construction?

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    1. We'll be finishing the structure for about 5 grand. Plumbing on top of that. Electrical will be a bit more since we are going off-grid. Certainly two people can pull it off. Only my wife and I doing this in our short summer months and I still work full time. Two summers and the structure is done. This summer we will finish everything else.

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  8. I've been trying to convince my hubby of the merits of a mass rocket heater, I want one soooo bad, we have a great wood stove inside the sky castle, made entirely by hubby, but like all regular woodstoves, it cools off as quickly as it heats up and it goes through a lot of wood... I'm thinking that when we start working on the bottom story (bedroom) I'll convince him to do a thermal mass rocket stove, can't wait!

    Your place is looking quite good, thanks for taking the time to post pix and telling the rest of us how you are doing all of this.

    Wretha

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  9. Hey Wretha,
    The rocket mass heaters are incredible. When I have mine blasting away, the exhaust coming out the stack outside is mostly steam. When it's burning properly, you can hardly smell anything at all in the exhaust. One if the things I like best about it is I can burn wood that is no good for anything else. I've been using crappy pallets.
    Maybe you could convince hubby to start with an outdoor one for a warmed bench. That's a future project of ours so we can enjoy some outdoor time during cold evenings.

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  10. Mud Dude- Please do a video of a rocket stove burn. I have not seen one this big before and wonder how you burn that much stuff and have no exhust problems. TIA.

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    1. Sorry, can't do any videos at this point. There are some good ones on youtube and elsewhere though.

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